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Thailand - Major Telecom Operators


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This report looks at the major operators in the Thai telecom market. In what is a complex commercial environment, we find a mix of state-owned companies and private operators functioning under a wide variety of corporate and regulatory structures and interfaces.

There are three major fixed-line operators – one government-owned and two private. Despite the effort put into this segment of the market, fixed-line services are outnumbered by mobile phone services by a ratio of almost 15 to one. Nonetheless, with a teledensity of a little more around 10% in 2012, fixed-line services remain an integral part of the telecommunications environment in the country. A major effort by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT) to promote DSL broadband services saw the start of a potentially enhanced role for the copper network. While reasonably good infrastructure has been put in place to support data services, this segment of the market has only recently been experiencing significant growth. Coming into 2013 fixed broadband internet penetration was around 7%.

In the meantime the mobile segment of the market continues its relatively strong growth, although not quite at the heady rates experienced a few years back. When two new mobile players – TA Orange (later to become True move) and Hutchison CAT – entered the market to challenge the entrenched duopoly of AIS and DTAC, competition became increasingly vigorous. Two other operators, Thai Mobile and CAT Mobile, also entered the market in a confusing fashion and without causing much impact. True Move, however, had managed to grab a sizeable chunk of the market over time, with around 25% of total subscribers by 2012. The local mobile sector has seen a sustained period of high competition with heavy price-cutting as the battle for market share raged. There was likely to be a push for consolidation, especially as the market gets closer to saturation. The government’s sectoral reform, once finalised, should also have a major impact on the shape and direction of the market. The matter of the government issuing its 21MHz 3G licences became a prolonged saga causing much angst in the local industry. It finally happened late in 2012. By early 2013, the three big operators were moving vigorously forward with their new licences.

In looking at some of the major telecom network operators in Thailand, this report touches on the wide scope of their operations – fixed line, mobile, broadband internet, international gateways and a range of other market segments.

Key developments:

AIS, DTAC and True Corp were awarded new licences following the 2100MHz 3G auction in late 2012;
The first half of 2013 saw roll-out and launch of 2100MHz 3G networks by the three operators;
the NBTC authorised AIS and then both DTAC and True to carry out 4G LTE mobile trials;
TrueMove used its new 2100MHz licence to move straight to a 4G network;
all operators were having to address plans by the NBTC to withdraw allocated frequency spectrum over the coming period as concessions expired;
TrueMove’s 2G concession due to end in September 2013 was of particular concern with some 18 million 2G subscribers involved;
the two state-owned telcos, TOT and CAT, were both working on developing new business strategies as the end of the era of BOT concessions approached.

Companies covered in this report include:

TOT Corp; CAT Telecom; True Corp; True Move; TT&T; Triple T Broadband; Jasmine International; AIS; DTAC; Hutchison CAT


1. Synopsis
2. Operating environment for operators
2.1 Market overview
2.2 Background
2.3 Mobile market
2.3.1 CAT and TOT
2.4 Operator statistics
3. Major operators
3.1 Advanced Info Service (AIS)
3.1.1 Overview
3.1.2 Corporate structure
3.1.3 Statistics
3.1.4 Financials
3.1.5 Developments
3.1.6 3G strategy
3.1.7 WiMAX
3.1.8 AIS / Advance Datanetwork Communications (ADC)
3.2 DTAC
3.2.1 Overview
3.2.2 Business strategy
3.2.3 Statistics
3.2.4 Financials
3.2.5 3G strategy
3.3 True Corp
3.3.1 Overview
3.3.2 Company structure and financial history
3.3.3 Business strategy
3.3.4 Financials
3.3.5 Fixed-line services
3.3.6 True Move
3.3.7 True Online
3.4 Telephone Organization of Thailand Corp (TOT)
3.4.1 Overview
3.4.2 Corporate structure
3.4.3 Statistics
3.4.4 Business strategy
3.4.5 Network expansion activity
3.4.6 3G strategy
3.4.7 4G trials
3.4.8 Proposed privatisation
3.4.9 TOT broadband
3.5 Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT)
3.5.1 Overview
3.5.2 Business strategy
3.5.3 Network and business expansion
3.5.4 Proposed privatisation
3.5.5 Proposed CAT/TOT merger
3.5.6 CAT broadband
3.5.7 International
3.6 Thai Mobile, TOT and CAT
3.6.1 TOT/CAT joint venture
3.6.2 Statistics
3.6.3 Restructuring of Thai Mobile joint Venture
3.6.4 Proposed 3G network
3.6.5 CAT Telecom mobile
3.6.6 Hutchison CAT
3.7 TT&T
3.7.1 Overview
3.7.2 Business development
3.7.3 Company and financial restructuring
3.7.4 Financial rehabilitation plan and ongoing performance
3.7.5 Triple T Broadband/Jasmine
4. Related reports
Table 1 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2012
Table 2 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – 2012
Table 3 – Monthly ARPU (postpaid, prepaid, blended) for major mobile operators – 2012
Table 4 – Fixed-line operators and subscribers – 2009; 2011
Table 5 – Fixed-line operators and payphones – 2009; 2011
Table 6 – AIS: subscribers and market share – 2004; 2007 - 2013
Table 7 – AIS: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 8 – AIS: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) – March 2013
Table 9 – AIS: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2013
Table 10 – AIS: number of data users – 2008 - 2012
Table 11 – AIS: proportion of revenue from non-voice – 2008 - 2013
Table 12 – AIS: capital expenditure – 2008 - 2013
Table 13 – DTAC: total mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2013
Table 14 – DTAC: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 15 – DTAC: Mobile data subscribers – 2011 - 2012
Table 16 – DTAC: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) – 2012
Table 17 – DTAC: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2008 - 2012
Table 18 – True’s total revenues – 2004 - 2012
Table 19 – True Corp: capital expenditure – 2007 - 2013
Table 20 – True’s fixed-line subscribers – 2004 - 2012
Table 21 – True’s fixed line ARPU – 2004 - 2012
Table 22 – True’s payphone ARPU – 2004 - 2012
Table 23 – True Move: total mobile subscribers and market share – 2004 - 2013
Table 24 – True Move: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 25 – True Move: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid / prepaid) – 2012
Table 26 – True Move: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2011
Table 27 – True Move H: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2011 - 2012
Table 28 – TrueMove: proportion of revenue from non-voice – 2008 - 2012
Table 29 – True’s PCT subscribers – 2004 - 2012
Table 30 – True’s fixed internet subscribers – 2003 - 2012
Table 31 – True’s broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2013
Table 32 – TOT’s fixed-line subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 33 – TOT’s total revenues – 2005 - 2012
Table 34 – TOT’s payphones – 2005 - 2011
Table 35 – True Move: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
Table 36 – TOT’s broadband services – 2007 - 2012
Table 37 – TOT’s broadband internet ports in service – 2011
Table 38 – Thai Mobile Telecom’s subscriber growth – 2002 - 2009
Table 39 – CAT Telecom’s subscriber growth – 2006 – 2009; 2012
Table 40 – Hutchison CAT: subscribers and market share – 2003; 2007 - 2010
Table 41 – TT&T’s fixed-line subscribers – 2009 - 2012
Table 42 – Triple T Broadband’s subscribers – 2004; 2007 – 2012
Chart 1 – Monthly ARPU for major mobile operators – 2011
Chart 2 – AIS: subscribers and market share – 2004; 2007-2011
Chart 3 – AIS: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2012
Chart 4 – AIS financials – 2007 - 2010
Chart 5 – DTAC: subscribers and market share – 2003; 2005-2012
Chart 6 – DTAC: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2008 - 2011
Chart 7 – True Move financials – 2007 - 2010
Chart 8 – Trues PCT subscribers – 2004 - 2011
Chart 9 – Trues fixed internet subscribers – 2003 - 2011
Chart 10 – Trues broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2012
Chart 11 – TOT’s fixed-line subscribers – 2005 - 2011
Chart 12 – TOTs total revenues – 2005 - 2011
Chart 13 – TOTs payphones – 2005 - 2011
Chart 14 – Thai Mobile Telecoms subscriber growth – 2002 - 2009
Chart 15 – Hutchison CAT: subscribers and market share – 2003; 2007-2010
Exhibit 1 – Major operators by market segment
Exhibit 2 – Statement by Telenor on status of DTAC concession in Thailand – March 2013
Exhibit 3 – True Corp’s major shareholders – March 2012

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